Saturday, August 21, 2010
Dennis Seidenberg in a good spot
By James Murphy Special to ESPNBoston.com
At this time last year, Dennis Seidenberg was waiting by the phone for his agent or an NHL general manager to call and tell him he had a taker. Seidenberg was sweating through being an unrestricted free agent in the NHL salary cap world.
The German native wouldn't sign on with a team until the second week of training camp, when the Florida Panthers came calling for his services.
Dennis Seidenberg's wrist is healed and he is happy with his four-year contract with the Bruins.
"I was nervous because I really didn't know if I'd get signed," said Seidenberg, who had 295 NHL games under his belt at the time. "It was hard because you don't know where you're going and where you need to move your family and stuff. Not fun at all."
But as he prepares for the 2010-11 season, the blueliner -- who was acquired by the Bruins at the March trade deadline -- is armed with a four-year, $13 million deal that could keep him in Boston until he is 33. That sense of security has made this summer a lot easier than last for Seidenberg.
"I'm much more comfortable now and just having that security that you're signed for four years is great," Seidenberg said. "Knowing that you'll be in a great city with awesome fans and in a great dressing room with a Stanley Cup contender is a great feeling. It makes you so excited to get the season started because you have that sense of security and know where you're going."
That has also helped ease Seidenberg's recovery process from the wrist injury he suffered April 3 that kept him out for the remainder of the regular season and playoffs.
"I was able to really focus on recovery and get back to normal," said Seidenberg, who suffered a lacerated tendon in his left forearm when he was sliced by a skate during a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. "The wrist is fine now. I've been practicing and working out with [Los Angeles Kings forward] Justin Williams in New Jersey, where I stay in the summer, and I feel great. I'm really excited to get back to Boston."
Seidenberg is planning to return to Beantown the first week of September, when he will close on a new house. He then will resume workouts with Bruins strength and conditioning coach Johnny Whitesides to be ready for training camp, which is set to begin Sept. 17.
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"We've had a great summer, I think, personnel-wise and I like the additions we made up front with Tyler [Seguin], Gregory Campbell and Nathan Horton," Seidenberg said. "I know we lost Dennis Wideman but I still like our defense a lot. I really liked playing with 'Z' [captain Zdeno Chara] last season and hopefully we can be paired up again. He wins those one-on-one battles with his size, obviously, and he's such a big presence out there, so it makes it easier for his partner to do their job.
"I don't know what the pairings will be -- and either way, our D is great, so it's fine -- but I love playing with Z."
The Bruins lost assistant coach Craig Ramsey to Atlanta, where he will take over as head coach for the Thrashers. Ramsey was the man in charge of the Bruins' blue line and a favorite with the players. But Seidenberg is still confident in the coaching staff without Ramsey -- specifically in Doug Houda, who will be replaced up top by newly hired Doug Jarvis as he moves down to the bench to replace Ramsey.
"'Rammer will be missed for sure," Seidenberg said of Ramsey. "He was such a calming influence for the players and a great defensive coach. But Houds [Houda] will be great, I'm sure, and I hear nothing but good things on Jarvis. So I think we'll be OK there."
Seidenberg was miserable last spring when he had to watch his team's monumental collapse to the Philadelphia Flyers in the playoffs and couldn't be there on the ice to help prevent the Bruins from blowing a 3-0 series lead. He's looking forward to being there for them this coming season, and hopefully getting them over the hump.
"That was so hard, and I wanted to get back in there so bad to help them," Seidenberg said of the playoffs loss. "We had a great team and it was really tough to see that. But we got a great team now and I'm happy to be part of it again."
James Murphy has covered the Bruins and the NHL for the last eight seasons. He has written for NHL.com, NESN.com, Insidehockey.com and Le Hockey Magazine. Murphy also authors a blog, Drop Puck Murphy.